A recurring phrase in Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, often seen when some character or characters drop out of the story, is ".. but that's another story and shall be told another time". I believe this is what's being referenced by Bastian, Atreyu, and Falkor near the very end:

"The Water asks you," Falkor translated, "whether you completed all the stories you began in Fantastica."

"No," said Bastian. "None of them really."

Falkor listed awhile. His face took on a worried look.

"In that case, it says, the white snake won't let you through. You must go back to Fantastica and finish them all."

"All the stories?" Bastian stammered. "Then I'll never be able to go back. Then it's all been for nothing."

Falkor listened eagerly.

"What does it say?" Bastian wanted to know.

"Hush!" said Falkor.

After a while he sighed and said: "It says there's no help for it unless someone promises to do it in your place. But no one can do that."

"I can! I will!" said Atreyu.

Given the whole theme of the book - sucking readers into the story in order to continue it themselves - I think these unfinished tales are a very important thing for readers to appreciate and make note of. For anyone who wants to do what Bastian did and continue telling the Neverending Story, these stories are an easy place to start: loose strands left over which any other storyteller can continue working with.

What are all the "other stories to be told at other times" in The Neverending Story?


2 Answers 2


I actually made a list of all of these many years ago, which deserves to be recorded for posterity. Here they are, in the order that they appear in the text.

  • The four messengers: Gluckuk, Vooshvazool, Pyornkrachzark, and Blubb.

    During the long waiting period, the four so unalike messengers became good friends. From then on they stayed together. But that's another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 1 (A)

  • The old centaur Cairon.

    Old Cairon never went back to the Ivory Tower. But he didn't die and he didn't stay with the Greenskins in the Grassy Ocean. His destiny was to lead him over very different and unexpected paths. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 3 (C)

  • The gnome couple Engywook and Urgl.

    Later on, Engywook became very famous; in fact, he became the most famous gnome in the world, but not because of his scientific investigations. That, however, is another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 7 (G)

  • Grograman, the Many-Coloured Death.

    [Bastian leaves Grograman, promises to come again.] Bastian didn't know that he would not keep his promise. Much much later someone would come in his name and keep it for him.

    But that's another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 15 (O)

  • Hero Hynreck and Princess Oglamar.

    As for Hero Hynreck, he actually succeeded in reaching Morgul, the Land of the Cold Fire. He ventured into the petrified forest of Wodgabay, crossed the three moats of Ragar Castle, found the lead axe, and slew the dragon Smerg. Then he brought Oglamar back to her father. At that point she would gladly have married him. But by then he didn't want her any more. That, however, is another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 17 (Q)

  • The faithful mule Yikka.

    [Yikka] really did find the white, winged stallion. They married and she had a son who was a white, winged mule. His name was Pataplan and he made quite a name for himself in Fantastica, but that's another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 21 (U)

  • The Three Deep Thinkers: Ushtu, Shirkry, and Yisipu.

    That night the usual harmony of the Three Deep Thinkers was disturbed by a first radical difference of opinion, which years later led to the breakup of the community. Then Ushtu the Mother of Intuition, Shirkry the Father of Vision, and Yisipu the Son of Reason each founded a cloister of his own. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 21 (U)

  • The sword Sikanda.

    And there Sikanda lies to this day. For not until far in the future will one come who can wield it without danger - but that is another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 23 (W)

  • The three knights Hykrion, Hysbald, and Hydorn.

    [Hykrion, Hysbald, and Hydorn] felt bound by the oath of fealty they had sworn to Bastian and resolved to search all Fantastica for him. That was all well and good, but which way were they to go? They couldn't agree, so deciding that each would search separately, they parted and hobbled off each in a different direction. All three had countless adventures, and Fantastica knows numerous accounts of their futile quest. But these are other stories and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 24 (X)

  • Bastian and others in the real world.

    "Bastian Balthazar Bux," [Mr Coreander] grumbled. "If I'm not mistaken, you will show many others the way to Fantastica, and they will bring us the Water of Life."

    Mr Coreander was not mistaken.

    But that's another story and shall be told another time.

    -- Chapter 26 (Z)

I think I managed to find them all in the text of the book, but do let me know if I missed any.

  • Together with Gin Reuzam's answer, this matches the list I made at my last reading. Feel free to add two borderline cases (I read in German so don't have exact English quotes) : Halfway in chapter (Q) the numerous "stories, poems and songs" that people recite in Amarganth are mentioned, but they would take up too much space here and "shall be told another time." And in chapter (V) it is said that a full report of the battle for the Ivory Tower is impossible, and innumerable stories are told about it to this day, stories that "maybe shall be told another time". Commented Feb 1 at 19:51
  • @Torsten Thanks! An unrelated question since you read it in German (and especially if you've also read it in English): is there a lot of wordplay and linguistic tricks in the original that aren't (perhaps can't be) preserved by translation? Learning that letters = Buchstaben was an eye-opener for me: thinking of letters as "book stabbers" puts a whole new light on the scene of the Childlike Empress climbing the ladder.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Feb 1 at 19:59
  • But "Stabe" in Buchstabe does not mean "to stab", a Stab is a staff/rod/bar/stick, and as a native German speaker I would not have had any association with "stabbing". I would have perceived it more visually as literally the "Buchstaben" making up the rungs of a ladder. Maybe they do stick out and are a bit pokey. The metaphor behind it is still that once something is set in letters, it cannot be changed anymore hence is dead hence goes against the creative force behind the empress, but not with that kind of wordplay. Commented Feb 5 at 2:04
  • 1
    That being said, there is wordplay in that chapter, but not too much, and I did not notice much in other parts of the book (I think). The most obvious play here is the one Michael Ende uses with his own name, Ende = ending. The Old Man, who writes the Neverending Story, literally says somewhere "Ich bin das Ende", "I am the ending" (while the empress is "der Anfang", "the beginning"). Commented Feb 5 at 2:10
  • In another (great!) book of his, Der Spiegel im Spiegel, a collection of dream stories, there is one where two characters meet, an adult and a child. They ask each other's names, and the adult says, "I have many names, but for the beginning my name is ending (Ende)." The child comments that's a strange name, but they get along, the child says his name is just "child", and after a while the adult says, "I will call you Michael". --- This is just to support that Michael Ende was open to using his name as a pun. (There is also one story in there about a man who "consists entirely of letters".) Commented Feb 5 at 2:13

Yes, you missed one story: "The story of Ghemmal", in the beginning of chapter 23.

But a glittering object was left behind in the juniper bush: the belt Ghemmal. Bastian was unaware of his loss and never thought of the belt again. Ilwan had saved it from the flames for nothing.

A few days later Ghemmal was found by a blackbird, who had no suspicion of what this glittering object might be. She carried it to her nest, but that's the beginning of another story that shall be told another time.


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